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Short Essays

Another Earth

Blue Shift

Bright Star

Star Distance

Proper Motion

Earth Daze


Farthest Naked Eye Object

Faster Than Light

Time Travel

More Time Travel

Visible Planets

Loose Ends

Maintained by suitti@uitti.net, Stephen Uitti
--- Linda AKA Myelle wrote: There is no possible way that we can view the light from the star's future without first traveling there ourselves.

Absolutely correct. Except that it won't be the star's future when we get there, it will only be the star's future from the current point of view. It will be very close the the star's present.

There are several difficulties with traveling to another star, but it is possible. To get to the star's future is also possible. You can do both at the same time.

One difficulty is that it will take a long time to get there. Now, if you had some sort of advanced space ship that could get you going there at 99.9999% of the speed of light, General Relativity tells us that you would not experience the entire time that it takes to get there. Take it Easy, I won't do the math.

Let's say you look at a star that is 50 light years away. You are seeing it as it appeared 50 years ago. If you got in your very fast (99.9999% of the speed of light) space ship, you might arrive there having aged much less than 50 years - perhaps only a few minutes. When you get there, however, the star isn't 50 years older than it looked like when you last saw it, it's more than 100 years older. That's because, although you only experienced a few minutes, it really took you 50 years to get there, and you last saw it with 50 year old light. This would be bad, for example, if you thought it was going to explode in less than 100 years.

So, you do the return trip to Earth, which seems to take you only another few minutes. However, since it really took another 50 years, it's 100 years since you left Earth. Unless your friends were doing similar things, or they have some magic life span increasing system, they're all dead.

And you can't go back. You are now stuck in the future.

So, time travel into the future is possible. However, it's one way. In fact, you're doing it now. You are traveling into the future as you read this. And eventually, you'll arrive sometime, somewhere to meet the Grim Reaper.

Happy Birthday

When it's my time to go, I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my uncle did. Not screaming in terror like his passengers.